Since Pool Scouts launched in January 2016 when parent company, Buzz Franchise Brands, acquired a local pool service business with a customer base of about 30, the brand has grown to nearly 20 territories nationwide. After gaining confidence by extending its reach coast to coast, the Virginia Beach, Virginia-based pool service franchise is now coming back home to grow geographically as further proof of its model. Due to the tremendous opportunity the region presents, Pool Scouts kicked off expansion into northern Virginia by awarding the Manassas territory to a franchise industry veteran to spark brand recognition and development.
Pool Scouts president Michael Wagner explained the region to the North of Pool Scouts’ corporate base was appealing for development because of its ability to generate a high concentration of customers. “When we look at markets, metro areas with single-family homes and an annual household income around $75,000 are our biggest targets,” he said. “Northern Virginia is a growing region of the U.S. with a high income and great demographics, all of which indicated good propensity to use Pool Scouts services,” Wagner added.
The brand sees Manassas, where it just signed an agreement with local businessman David Muirhead, as an ideal first territory for growth in the northern Virginia area based on its proximity and similarity to the Virginia Beach market. Muirhead comes to Pool Scouts with a deep understanding of what it takes to be a successful franchisee in the market thanks to more than a decade of experience operating another franchise in the area.
“I’ve been working in the franchise industry for the last 13 years with a brand called The Grout Medic,” Muirhead said. “Over the years, I’ve opened six locations and also took on a role with the corporate team working in operations and franchise development,” he added.
Muirhead drew on his extensive industry experience as he began researching opportunities to diversify his portfolio by joining a concept with a recurring business model. “As a pool owner myself who has had to keep up with maintenance over the years, the Pool Scouts model fit what I was looking for,” he said. He believes the brand will be successful in his territory because of the poor customer service he has experienced from competing brands in the area.
“Other places don’t return calls or keep schedules,” Muirhead said. “Looking at Pool Scouts’ model and their process of acquiring, staying in front of and retaining customers, local competition does nothing like that. The customer acquisition process really sets the brand apart,” he added.
Muirhead said his knowledge and experience building strong customer and vendor relationships will benefit his Pool Scouts franchise despite not much overlap of customer base with The Grout Medic due to the difference in services. “Being a franchisee for as long as I have, I know what it takes to start up service in a location and build it out,” Muirhead said. “I have experience finding the right employees and building lasting professional relationships, all of which I’m taking with me to Pool Scouts,” he added.
“David’s success operating a route-based business with technicians and vehicles in the field will bring efficiency, predictability and consistency to Pool Scouts that we are really excited about,” Wagner said. This is just one way Pool Scouts plans to leverage Muirhead’s franchise experience in the brand’s strategic expansion in the area.
“David has three territories and more than 20,000 prospective households,” Wagner said. “His territories are set to open gradually, in March of 2019, 2020 and 2021. This was set him up to expand deep in the territory, not wide.”
This incremental expansion will also help with brand recognition and aid in the buildout of other areas. Wagner noted that territories functioning and in action make attracting buyers to those not yet sold much easier as Pool Scouts eyes further expansion in the region. “We have two more territories open in northern Virginia,” Wagner noted. “Beyond that, we have available territories in the D.C. metro area, in Richmond and various opportunities in southern Maryland,” he said. “With a number of high-density areas near our home region nicely structured for growth, we are just getting started.”